Push Grows for Afghan Ceasefire as Dozens Killed in Fighting

Taliban attacks reported in Kabul, Nangarhar

Intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha continued apace, but were marred by reports of heavy fighting in Kabul and in Nangarhar Province. At least 32 Afghan security forces were killed, and another 25 wounded in the course of 24 hours.

Another 30 Taliban were reported to have died in the fighting, including at least one “key commander” named Mullah Sangeen. Officials accused Sangeen of being behind a series of terror attacks in the capital city.

All of this adds up to a lot of fighting, some of the worst in the week of peace talks. It is also leading to another new push for a nationwide ceasefire. The Afghan government is pushing hard to sell the Taliban on the idea.

So far the Taliban hasn’t spoken a lot about it, but Afghan negotiator Abdullah Abdullah ssuggested that he’d offer more prisoner releases if the Taliban agreed. That would be a big get for the Taliban this early in the talks, while securing a nationwide ceasefire would be a big boost for the overall process.

That’s probably why they’ve been so reticent to make big offers to the Taliban for the ceasefire, because it realistically benefits both sides. Now that a possible exchange has been mentioned, however, expect the Taliban to resist until they get something out of the deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.